BGC delivers debut Gambling Anti-Money Laundering Group workshop

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has completed the first Training Day for the Gambling Anti-Money Laundering Group (GAMLG), in a bid to drive high standards and encourage best practice.

Topics of discussion during the day-long session was consideration of key emerging risks, best practice and developments, which the standards body stated was a reflection of ‘the diversity of compliance functions’ across its operations.

A total of 80 delegates from 30 prominent UK betting and gaming companies were in attendance, including Betway, Entertain, Gamesys, Genting, Playtech and William Hill. 

Speakers included Claire Wilson, a Senior Manager at the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and National Crime Agency (NCA) Director General Graeme Biggar, who discussed the regulatory landscape and lessons from enforcement cases and the current threats posed to gambling and AML respectively.

“The objective of the Group is to reduce money laundering risks within the sector and to promulgate best practice amongst operators,” stated the BGC. . 

“While gambling is rated as low risk in the Government’s National Risk Assessment, the industry is determined to drive up standards and encourage best practice across its membership to keep crime out of gambling.”

The day also saw sessions by the UK Financial Intelligence Unit, which advised on SARs best practice, and KPMG, which provided a tutorial on ‘building a culture of compliance’.

The BGC’s increased focus on anti-money laundering comes off the back of some high-profile instances in which betting operators have been fined by the UKGC for AML failures, as well as shortcomings on social responsibility. 

Notably, 888 was fined £9.4 million for lack of compliance with AML and social responsibility requirements across its brands in March, and in February BetVictor was handed a £2 million penalty for similar reasons, whilst the month prior online casino operator Genesis Global was also hit with a £3.8 million fine and added licensing conditions following an investigation.

With the White Paper on the 2005 Gambling Act review due for publication in the coming months, Gambling Minister Chris Philp stated there are ‘too many cases of operators failing to meet their duties to protect people’.

“BGC members will continue to work through GAMLG to raise standards across the sector in keeping crime out of gambling,” the BGC asserted.

GAMLB was first founded in 2016 by the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) and Remote Gambling Association (RGA), with the NCA’s first Director General Keith Bristow QPM independently chairing the group, whilst the BGC has since provided the secretarial function.

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